Really bad balancing


The main problem is the aliens are so much easier than the grunts. I get lazy when I only encounter vorts, squids or even alien grunts for a while and can just run and gun without taking cover. Then the next time I run into a bunch of soldiers and take them on the same way I will get assraped. I remember in HL1, vorts and squids seemed a lot more vicious particularly in melee (I don’t know whether the damage has changed, but in this mod they seem to take longer to melee). Alien grunts were tanks.





Have any of you complaining about ammo ever tried limiting yourself to killing zombies and headcrabs with the crowbar? Or simply cooking nades for groups of marins and vorts to daize them. Having none of the issues on hard.



I play Black Mesa on Hard mode, and it never feels like the game is too challenging.

The submachine gun is just fine if you fire in bursts and aim for the head. Firing in full-auto makes it too inaccurate to be used properly.

The shotgun is absolutely devastating at short range, to the point where one well-aimed shot will instantly down any soldier or Vort that comes in your way.

The revolver never felt “inaccurate”, and the iron sights actually come in handy occasionally when firing at extreme long ranges.

Vorts actually felt like they did a little TOO much damage, although that might just be a consequence of me playing on Hard.

Bullsquids are pretty easy to fight without taking too much damage, just rush them with the shotgun or hit them a couple times with the revolver.

Explosives are ridiculously useful when coming up against a group of soldiers. Just fire a rifle grenade right in the center, and anyone who doesn’t die can be finished off with some SMG fire.

Make sure to use the environment to your advantage. A lot of fights are made a lot easier by blowing up explosive barrels, for instance.

The soldier AI did feel like it detected me a bit too early, but I was never really bothered by it.

The two most effective weapons in BM are the revolver (for long range headshot kills) and the SMG (for mid-range kills and grenades).

Ammo is not an issue if you use the crowbar for headcrabs and zombies. It’s actually more efficient that way, as headcrabs suffer a one-hit death from the crowbar and headcrabs never come off of the heads of zombies if you kill them with the crowbar.

TL;DR Black Mesa isn’t that hard once you learn all the little quirks of the game. Maybe Hard mode is actually easier than Normal, or maybe I’m just better than all of you. (If you’re offended by that, learn to take a joke.)



My main issue is…

everything is so CLUTTERED

I feel smothered

and in some levels it’s hard to move

“Power Up”'s main room feels far too small with the Garg stomping around and the trains and misc items lying around



I just finished playing on normal and have to say I find it well balanced… there was some parts where I have about 30 hp and have to fight group of monster. There’s always chance to beat it even with that low hp using good tactic sure it takes few loads but that’s what I like about games you can’t beat it for the first time it wouldn’t be fun :slight_smile: .



This. We’re all so in love with this mod (for good reason) that the little things that cause the game to stop being fun stand out in stark, stark contrast and we want to see them fixed.

I don’t like first person shooters. I don’t like Call of Duty, I don’t like Halo, I barely like Just Cause 2. I love TF2 because it’s fun and goofy and more importantly it’s not real. The guns and targets in the game aren’t trying to match anything in real life, they’re just cones of death hitting boxes. But it’s been tweaked to be fun to shoot cones of death at boxes.

And Half Life is the only “serious” shooter I’ve ever liked. Took my friends by surprise. But the deep storyline, interactive environment, and choice of combat between run-and-gun and hide-and-snipe was very engaging.

Black Mesa’s Marines are too perfect. They are way too fast to react, are psychic on my position, and spam damage in a way where your only chance is to tank. You can’t run and gun them well as you need to be able to tank lots of damage if you run through a group. And you can’t snipe them well because if you make one shot every marine in a two square mile area knows your exact location and spams it with death. I still haven’t figured out the proper way to play BM, but I guess I’m getting close as I’m getting better at it. But while I’m enjoying the rich environments, the voice acting, the extra bits of story, I’m not enjoying the combat like I did in Half Life.

Maybe the new combat style is just not my “cup of tea.” Maybe everyone who’s not in this thread loves it and we’re just outliers. But I think we’re all wanting to experience Half Life Gold Src style combat but keep getting reminded that we can’t, and that despite the decals on the walls this really isn’t Half-Life.

For those of you trying to explain away the reaction time issues using ingame storyline (“These are trained fighters and you’re just some snot nosed scientist”) (1) the tram explains that Black Mesa personnel are expected to all be able to use deadly force should it become necessary, (2) the training course which is not included in BM explained quite clearly that anyone wearing a hazard suit was expected to be able to handle themselves in actual combat, (3) the hazard suit obviously helps you be a better soldier with the aiming reticle and whatnot, (4) you are running for your life, a situation which gives you great clarity, (5) the Marines, until “On A Rail”, haven’t been a target of anything, they’ve been apex predators killing defenseless scientists, so they SHOULDN’T be on hairtriggers, and (6) they’re complaining all the time that nobody is fighting back… in other words, until On A Rail they should be easy to surprise because you ARE a scientist fighting back, and after Forget Freeman they should be so busy running for their own lives that surprising them is easy.

So trying to “explain away” the AI awareness, speed, and accuracy by saying that Freeman is a wimp and the Marines are all jocks is the wrong tack. Marines should be surprised by scientists fighting back and/or distracted with their own battles. In other words, explaining it away using ingame universe means… the reaction time should be cranked down.

Which is what we’re really all asking for. Crank the reaction time down just a bit, make it so that ambushed soldiers need a little more time to regroup if they don’t see me, make it so stealth mode actually is worth a damn, allow the soldiers to be distracted a little more. Just enough for me to have some satisfaction when I snipe one with the Magnum and have time to change position before they nuke me.

And just heaping on the health kits and batteries and ammo is not enough. It’s a patch, to distract from the real issue, the bad AI. Just because they give me enough health and batteries to tank their bad AI doesn’t mean I have fun tanking their bad AI. I’d rather crawl through each encounter at 35 health, paranoidly watching over my shoulder every time I hear a sound, than simply blasting through a group of marines to get to the crate full of health packs on the other side.

As much as I complained about it yesterday, so far the only encounter with the marines I enjoyed was the one where I was down to almost no health and had to reload every few seconds. But that was because there were so many catwalks and boxes that I ended up accidentally getting to do the old half-life sneak around routine because the GodAI in the marines couldn’t see through the catwalks, so they stood around idle and I could snipe them around corners one at a time. The only difference was, in GoldSrc, I wouldn’t have had to reload after every shot in order to triangulate the next guy.

Black Mesa is the most detailed, polished mod I’ve played on Source in a long time. It blows everything else out of the water. I skipped a day of work just so I can play, and it’s not been a waste of time. I’ve enjoyed most of my experience! Kudos to you guys! But my fun abruptly stops when I run into the Marines and their GodAIs and doesn’t start again until they’re all dead. That’s the problem, I haven’t enjoyed any of the encounters in the game so far… except against headcrabs, zombies, and houndeyes. Because they don’t have hitscan aimbot weapons powered by ultimate awareness AI.



and here I was thinking the 357 was way too accurate-- o



I dont know, everything feels great to me (currently playing at Normal) It feels to me like original HL (at normal) :slight_smile: Sometimes you have to quicksave and quickload, then prepare a better battleplan :slight_smile: That was one of the most funny things when played original. And weapons are just fine. 357 is accurate (with no autoaim) and of course unless you receiving bullets into your body and MP5 feels great to me too (short bursts into heads works)



I don’t get people who say it feels fine or the devs trying to discreetly say people are just bad, The only issue I have found on hard is that marine packs are the only difficult ones, not because they are too accurate, not because they are too fast to react but because they seem to be super humans with 3000 HP and 10000 armor… I think it’s mainly the case with the MP5, I felt like it was the main gun back in HL1 and here it’s so weak that it’s almost pointless to use… I think upping the armor penetration on it for marine would make it feel a little better balanced… When I was crossing the DAM I literally pulled the MP5 out for it’s nades and then swapped out when I was out of nades since it’s the only thing it seems to be good for.

The rest of the game is quite nice when it comes to balancing I thought… .But that MP5 is just terrible on Hard.



On that note, I’ve got a quick question. How does one actually change the MP5’s damage? I seriously can’t find anything in skill.cfg about it, nor can I see any convars related to it, and lastly I can’t find anything in the scripts folder about it. How much damage does it even do?



I can tell you it’s not enough however much it is. If I knew I wouldn’t be here complaining about how it’s too weak =P I’d be playing with it at a slightly higher damage either that or slightly weaker marines.



DEVS! PLEASE don’t listen to the people saying the marines are too hard, or the game itself for that matter. Half-Life 1 WAS HARD. These people are too used to new games curling you all the way through.

I remember in back in Half-Life 1 I quicksaved before rounding any corner. Survival instinct. I love that this mod has brought back the challenge that used to be in games.

The marines are perfect. On hard, they are very well balanced. They are not that hard on normal.

It just feels more realistic than hundereds of games out there. The marines are trained professionals. Of COURSE they are going to see you if you see them, and open fire before you even react. Even still considering this, I manage to take on packs of 5 on hard, usually killing some with a headshot before they have time to shoot me.

These guys are not stupid HL2 combine which you can stand and look at for 5 minutes before they even hit you, and they are not supposed to be.

This is NOT a run and gun-game, and HL1 wasn’t either. Please stop bitching about the difficulty and play on easy if you’re used to getting curled.



I am playing it on Hard & the Soldiers can be at times too good but that’s a challenge much better than anything modern these days.

This is the only Game/MOD I have played in the last 5 or 6 years which challenges me. Normally I have to load up my Super Nintendo to play a challenging game and they were meant for children!



I think some people in here may be confusing difficulty with balance.

I’m currently up to Surface Tension on normal, and so far the difficulty feels about right for my skill level. I’ve died plenty of times and spend most of my time with <50 health, but ultimately I’ve been able to make my way through each encounter. The game is challenging but not impossible, which provides a very entertaining experience in my opinion.

On the other hand, I absolutely agree with the comments regarding the marine AI. The reaction times are far too fast and the marines’ weapons are too accurate - while I am still able to kill them eventually, it starts to feel like a chore when each marine I kill is able to do two or three times as much damage to me than I do to them. There was actually an instance recently in my playthrough where a marine would run round a corner, knock off a third of my remaining health and disappear back round the corner before I could even register that he was there, let alone shoot back. Then he repeated this trick until I was dead, with no way to react without exposing myself to even more bullets.

I have very much enjoyed this game so far. Black Mesa really feels like what Half Life would be if Valve made it today, and I haven’t even reached the end yet. All that’s left is to fix this minor issue (as a programmer, I would guess that it would be very easy to add a delay between detecting the player and calling the code that handles attacking, 1-3 lines tops) and you would end up with a game that, while nothing is ever absolutely perfect, comes pretty darn close.



I don’t know why people think marines are too fast but I like it. The HL1 was most fun when you play hide and seek with the marines and it felt like I’m playing against human. This mod feels different but in a good way! DO NOT MAKE THIS GAME EASY! Please! :slight_smile: You did an amazing job with the whole atmosphere and that would ruin it!

On the other hand I agree that the aliens are a bit softer in general than in HL1.



As a compromise, why not leave the present AI in on hard mode, and tweak it for normal and easy? That way, people who want to fight against instant-reflex soldiers can do so, and those of us who feel the reaction times are far too fast can also play how we like. Heck, even adding it as one of the gameplay settings in the menu would work, in case someone playing on hard disagrees with the reaction times.



No need to be insulting. While I’ve never been a fan of first person shooters, I do and have played Half-Life 1, and replay it often. I do know old games were hard. But whenever the AI was stupid back then you had an excuse: There wasn’t a decade of research and development in AI programming for games and a 486 or Pentium was too busy drawing the game to worry about the AI. This is a problem with AI perfection that could easily be fixed.

Just because I CAN tank through marines cheating doesn’t mean I want to. Cheating AI can be defeated but there’s something unsatisfactory about the experience. Reminds me of Civ 2, where the AI always knew where you were at, what you were doing, and somehow developed an arsenal of nuclear bombs the turn after Manhattan Project.

Doesn’t matter, Gordon’s a trained professional too, it comes part in parcel with the Hazard Suit (see above, or not). And we’re not talking about a Marine, on watch, looking directly at you. We’re specifcally talking about Marines with their backs toward you who instantly find your location and spam death at it when you shoot one of the pack. Their AI needs to be more error prone and delayed, that’s all. Just adding a small delay would go worlds toward feeling that the game isn’t cheating.

But that’s the point. IN some sections HL COULD be a run and gun game, if you’d scoped out the area and knew where all the bad guys were, you COULD jump down and shotgun everyone in the face before they react.

And you’ve apparently not read the positions of most of the people “bitching” above. Switching to easy solves the dying lamely problem when the Marines AI spam you to death, but it doesn’t solve the AI problem, and as many have already stated over and over again, there isn’t as much satisfaction in ANY difficulty mode when your planned out execution fails because the Marines find you instantly anyway and shoot you. All it does is scale down the damage you get, but the Marines still get to cheat which is the actual problem.

Black Mesa’s marines go from “These damn scientists don’t fight back” to “It’s funny when that Gordon guy is full of lead, isn’t it?” faster than you can hit the sprint key. They don’t have to see you to know your location. They appear to be able to shoot you while still turning and at right angles.

THIS is the problem we’re complaining about. It just needs a little bit of touching up to make it feel less like I’m avoiding a cheating computer and more like I’m fighting against Marines who have been lulled into a false sense of security gunning down civilians or are running for their life for extraction.

This would work as well, along with making everyone happy. Truly a winning combination.

In the old Half Life skill.cfg file, the SMG and the Pistol had different damage ratings; SMG did 5 per bullet, and the Pistol did 8. In Black Mesa, this line in skill.cfg handles both weapons:


It’s set to 6, a compromise, which actually makes the SMG a bit more powerful per bullet, but somewhat nerfs the pistol. I’ve reset this to 8, likely only a psychological change, but I tend to depend on the pistol anyway and don’t use the SMG. With that said, as has been mentioned before, as long as you remember to burst the SMG it actually does MORE damage in BM than it did in GoldSrc; I can only guess the inaccuracy-spread when continuously firing the weapon is a wider cone, making the damage spread out more.

Interestingly enough, if I’m reading the config right, the Marine’s SMG’s only do 4 damage a bullet and 3 damage a pellet (compared to 6 and 6), making the Marine’s ability to suck your life right out of your face a bit more interesting as well. sk_npc_dmg_9mm and sk_npc_dmg_buckshot can be manually nerf’d if you wish.

Some other options you can tweak include:

sk_npc_head to “3” to triple damage of headshots, as recommended before. This matches Half-Life GoldSrc.

sk_npc_arm and sk_npc_leg to 1 from .8, to match Half-Life and penalize you less for winging the soldiers.

In fact, just about all of the file can be tweaked to give you massive health, huge ammo piles, whatever you want. Of course, the further you deviate in this file the farther you are from the intended experience by the devs, so it’s personal choice how far you actually go.

Me, I’ve only changed sk_plr_dmg_9mm to match the old pistol, sk_npc_head _arm, and _leg above, to match the old GoldSrc games.

Unfortunately there isn’t a setting to make the Marines slower.

(skill.cfg used to be THE way to mod the game, back before the interwebs and steam and such… and in fact, the old skill.cfg had a config-var for each difficulty level to tweak your resource allocation down in addition to the increased threat… so those of you who think Hard Mode is still too easy can take a stab at that as well. Make a hardcore skill.cfg reducing everything to minimums and have fun. I’d even want to see a video of that… hardcore mode, with each ammo pickup only worth 1/3 the ammo and every Marine buffed to 3x health.)



Myeah, about reaction times. If you want to increase them, the default values are 0.3 (idle) and 0.1 (active - alert)

Convars are respectively:

If you want to increase the reaction delays to something more manageable, do it. I just slightly increased them to give a more realistic approach. (0.75 idle - 0.25 active) it makes a change to make them more manageable.



You’re right, I was a bit too harsh in my post.

I actually haven’t noticed the “they instantly know where you are”-issue. I find that they often turn around when I’m hidden (even if they saw me there earlier) and I get a chance to shoot them in the back. Doesn’t feel like they’re cheating to me.

Also, as the post above me shows - you can change the reaction times yourself.

-EDIT- The MP5 is actually useful against marines as a run and gun weapon. Go around a corner and spray, because when you hit them they will flinch and miss you.